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IEEE Trans Biomed Eng. 2007 Mar;54(3):503-8.

Taser dart-to-heart distance that causes ventricular fibrillation in pigs.

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Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706, USA.


Electromuscular incapacitating devices (EMDs), such as Tasers, deliver high current, short duration pulses that cause muscular contractions and temporarily incapacitate the human subject. Some reports suggest that EMDs can kill. To help answer the question, "Can the EMD directly cause ventricular fibrillation (VF)?", ten tests were conducted to measure the dart-to-heart distance that causes VF in anesthetized pigs [mass = 64 kg +/- 6.67 standard deviation (SD)] for the most common X26 Taser. The dart-to-heart distance that caused VF was 17 mm +/- 6.48 (SD) for the first VF event and 13.7 mm +/- 6.79 (SD) for the average of the successive VF events. The result shows that when the stimulation dart is close enough to the heart, X26 Taser current will directly trigger VF in pigs. Echocardiography of erect humans shows skin-to-heart distances from 10 to 57 mm (dart-to-heart distances of 1-48 mm). These results suggest that the probability of a dart on the body landing in 1 cm2 over the ventricle and causing VF is 0.000172.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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